Yara Sharif, Associate Lecturer for the Oxford Brookes School of Architecture, has been shortlisted for RIBA’s President’s Awards for Research 2013. Her thesis titled, ‘Searching for Spaces of Possibilities and Spaces of Imagination within the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict’ is shortlisted for the RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis.
Yara has been researching for the past seven years for the University of Westminster, with the aim to identify a potential architecture of resistance in Palestine. Her PhD rethinks the Palestinian/Israeli situation through an investigation of everyday spaces that exist between people, maps, documents and boundary lines. Using a combination of writing and design interventions, the thesis outlines possibilities for re-empowering a fragmented society and bridging gaps within the divided territory of Palestine’s West Bank.
Yara explained, “Being Palestinian myself, I bring in local voices and narratives of those who daily have to occupy the resulting spaces yet are also alienated from most analyses of the context. Specifically, I investigated informal forms of resistance and tactics of survival which, at a subversive and invisible micro-scale, are cutting into the heart of Israel’s occupation strategy.”
The RIBA’s President’s Awards for Research praises high-quality research and encourages its incorporation into the wider profession. The awards raise the profile of those engaged in research and also bring to light the need for research across the profession.
Yara commented, “For me it is fantastic news to be shortlisted but equally it is an important step forward in terms of research as I do believe there is a need to offer an alternative and most importantly a local voice, which the research aims to address.”